Default would be dire, Greek leader says
ATHEN — Greece’s prime minister, George Papandreou, said yesterday that he will continue with policies to drastically cut the country’s debt because the alternative — a default — would be catastrophic.
“We have taken a decision that no Greeks should live through the consequences of a default — and to change the country radically so that it . . . can stand on its own feet,’’ Papandreou told a newspaper. Never “did I imagine that we would need to slash pensions in order for the state to continue to pay any pensions at all,’’ he added.
An austerity program running through 2015 is designed to save $41 billion. It’s seen as essential in securing the fifth installment, worth $17 billion, of a $159 billion bailout by the European Union and International Monetary Fund. Greece hopes to secure a second bailout this month.